Results 1-10of 23 Reviews
El Segundo, California
May 5, 2011
by Sammy Lagios
Kineta, Attica, Greece
September 8, 2010
Blackburn, England, United Kingdom
January 2, 2010
From journal Walks Around Paris
August 14, 2006
From journal Paris in Spring...and Summer
San Jose, California
October 20, 2005
From journal Third Time's The Charm
by wanderer 2005
January 26, 2005
Pere Lachaise is unlike anything you've ever seen. It's a huge park with cobblestone walkways, huge trees and ornate mausoleums. Stained class, marble stone, delicate engraved headstones, I was amazed that this was a cemetery. It's a beautiful, serene place to walk around.
You can get a full map at the front gate for about €3. Take a couple of hours to stroll through this place. It's truly amazing. There are restroom facilities at each entrance. Bring a picnic lunch and eat among historic figures on one of the grassy knolls.
Metro line 2: Père Lachaise, Philippe Auguste
Go to www.pere-lachaise.com/perelachaise.php?lang=en to get a virtual tour and locate specific gravesites. Some say it's morbid to visit a cemetery, but this isn't your ordinary cemetery.
From journal Right or Left Bank?
May 13, 2004
As we slowed at one steep path, I caught movement in my peripheral vision and turned towards it. I saw a figure of a young woman dressed in long, dark garment emerging from a derelict mausoleum. Slipping my camera out from under my rain slicker, I quickly squeezed off a shot, not stopping for clarity or composition. Although I was partially hidden by an obelisque, the girl saw the camera mid-photo and ducked into the shadow of the sepulcher.
Before I could take another picture, she quickly exited the structure, ran up the hill and out of site. From my position I could see vestiges of a sleeping bag on the floor of the mausoleum, but by that time I was too wet to go back to capture that image. (Luckily, the interior was shallow and when I developed the film, I was able to "dodge out" some shade to reveal the dark-robed girl ducking back inside.)
We continued down the hill back to Round-Pont Casimir-Perier to find that my husband was already there, dry and patient under our umbrella. Anne and I recounted what we had seen, he added that while he was waiting for us to return, he said that when the storm began he saw at least a dozen scruffy but black-clad individuals walking up the hill toward what he speculated was some pre-ordained meeting place.
We decided to find a drier place to continue our conjectures adjourning to a café across the street, La Brasserie du Père-Lachaise. What kind of cult gave you the courage to sleep in a tomb? Were they homeless? How did they manage to stay inside the cemetery without police intervention? There is a grumpy guard now stationed at Jim Morrison’s grave that kept visitors from hanging-out too long. But there are people sleeping there? Hmm…interesting.
I decided to ask our waiter, whose English was better than my French what he knew. He related what he knew was there were some that lived in the area that were devoted to spiritualist, Allan Kardec whose writings influenced magico-religious beliefs. He was buried in section 44 on chemin du Quinconce. There was also talk of a little known trendy sub-group of young people that were convinced that the vampire Lestat was also buried here under the pseudonym of Prince Armand. (made famous by Tom Cruises in "Interview with a Vampire") I groaned inwardly at that last piece of information; I guess determining the real reasons would take more time to discover than I had this trip.
I have yet to discover the path to understanding exactly the reason this group of people we had stumbled across were lingering in the city of the dead. I am still looking for clues among the living. But I am fairly certain that these crypt-keepers still make Père Lachaise a living, breathing Parisian monument.
Père Lachaise cemetery is having the 200th anniversary of its opening, on Friday, 21. May 2004
From journal Cimetiere du Père Lachaise:"I see LIVE people."
I looked through my viewfinder and clicked off a shot. As soon one member of the group spotted my poised camera, they all scattered in different directions with streak of long flowing black clothing and blur of bright burgundy-streaked hair. We had heard stories of young Parisian cult-groups known as ‘Goths’ whose lifestyle included a vampire-inspired dress code and an allegiance to Allan Kardec, spiritualist that was buried here, but knew very little else about them. We were soon to find out a little more.
After Anne and I found our graves of our favorites, we wandered just observing and photographing the architecture. The ancient memorials ranged from well-tended, solid grandiose monumental structures to deteriorated, derelict stone tombs, crumbling and caving into the ground, moss-covered and weather beyond recognition. There was a vast array of interesting tombs but the most intriguing were not always the ones of the famous or infamous. One of the most poignant tributes that moved us with its austerity was a large, sleek white headstone that seemed to glow against the dark ancient monument. It was the model of minimalism with a small dark oval photo of an achingly young woman, and simply stated were her name, birth and death dates. Perhaps it was because she was so young; perhaps it was that she died this year.
As we traveled up one "chemin" and down another, we began to notice that more and more of the doors of the tiny gothic mausoleums that formed mini-chapels over the ancient graves were open or ajar. It was impossible not to notice that several of them contained blankets, half-empty bottles of wine, and remains of a recent meal, cigarette butts, and candy wrappers. When I stopped to attempt a photo, a young man dressed in well-worn black clothing jumped out of a near by mausoleum and yelled "ah-ha" (or something equivalent in French), laughed, and scurried away up a hilly path. Good thing I have a strong heart.
Just seconds later with what seemed like on cue, the weather began to change. An almost visible gust of wind blew dust and thunderheads across the hot June sun. A downpour began accompanied by theatrical thunder and lightening, rivaled only by special effects of classic horror flick. My friend and I gingerly made our way down the hill’s now slippery cobblestone path, towards our previously designated meeting place to find my husband.
Continued in Part 3
It was the kind of day at the start of June where summer comes on all of a sudden, with no period of adjustment or buffer for man or nature between mild spring and piercing heat. A crystal blue-hot sky cast the landscape in a perennial noon glare that had no shadows or shade in which to hide from the blazing sun. The day was still as a bright midnight with no breeze or birdsong for comfort.
This was the surreal setting for my first visit to Cimetiere Père-Lachaise, accompanied by my husband, Chris and our friend Anne. Each of us had our own list of famous tombs that we were hoping to see. An accomplished musician, Anne anticipated finding the resting places of Chopin and Bizet. Chris is an amateur chef and was interested to see the grave of the author of "The Physiology of Taste", gastronome Jean Antheleme Brillat-Savarin. Being in architecture school, I was eager to photograph any intriguing eternal architecture. I had especially looked forward to see the romantic curlicue-festooned Gothic canopy that had sheltered the remains of the lovers Abélard and Héloïse since 1817. And we all had to admit to be curious to see the condition of the tomb of Jim Morrison because we had heard that someone had recently stolen his portrait bust that had previously graced the tomb.
At the intersection of the boulevard de Ménilmontant and the rue du Repos we entered the cemetery through Port Principale, a massive limestone portal designed by Étienne Godde in 1825. Directly inside the gate on the left was a small stone gift and flower shop where we paused to obtain our complimentary glossy green map of "Les personnalités", which would guide us to our goals. We walked a short way and saw ahead of us lime trees tracing numerous narrow, shaded paths that were packed with well-kept mausoleums and crumbling tombs leading up to a summit.
Confused and slightly daunted after only a short walk into the interior, we stopped to determine our routes on our now sweat-slick maps, wilting on a bench in partial shade. We found ourselves on the perimeter of Round-Pont Casimir-Perier where several paths converged to this circular sector of lawn with the monument to Perier at its center. After a few minutes being sure of his directions and Chris set off up the hill on a path marked as Avenue des Acacias, promising over his shoulder to meet back at the bench in two hours.
Continued in PART 2
March 19, 2004
From journal Paris in March